Buku The Banner of Battle by Alan Palmer

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The Banner of Battle by Alan Palmer

Author:Alan Palmer

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Published: 2015-07-20T04:00:00+00:00

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The Banner of Battle by Alan Palmer

Chapter Twelve – A Victory and a Disaster

In later years Florence Nightingale used to head letters written on the anniversary of her arrival at Scutari, ‘November 4th (Eve of Inkerman)’. The parenthesis bore testimony to the importance she attached to the battle whose casualties so nearly overwhelmed her nurses in those terrible first weeks in Turkey. Yet in one sense the dateline was misleading. Most great battles in fluid campaigns —Agincourt, Lützen, Austerlitz, Borodino, to pick names at random — are preceded by days or nights of expectancy, with rival troops bracing themselves as their commanders find high ground from which to survey the terrain. Even in static trench warfare ominous signs suggest a coming attack: watchfires glow in the night sky; harnesses rattle, wagons creak; and it is enough to make forward troops stand-to for false alerts, as in the week before Balaclava.

Inkerman, however, was one of those rare engagements for which there was little preparation on either side. The main body of the Russian assault troops knew nothing of the ground, having only arrived on the previous day from Bessarabia; and if there were warning signals of increased activity in the enemy camp, no British staff officer was perceptive enough to recognize them. Letters from England, based upon titbits of information picked up by British diplomats in the German states, had suggested that the Russians wished to launch a full-scale attack to relieve the pressure on Sebastopol. But the besiegers were both confident and complacent. They took little interest in what the Russians were doing: Menshikov had probed the flank ofthe British position in the hills on 26 October, only to pull back badly mauled by the Guards. He was, it seemed, as cautious as ever. ‘We can see that large reinforcements are daily arriving to the Russian army,’ Raglan’s nephew noted, but he was sure that the enemy did not have ‘determination and courage enough to overcome British firmness and French gallantry’.[325] The allies went ahead with their plans for an assault on Sebastopol, having reached the stage where scaling ladders were stacked ready on the Balaclava quayside, where any spy might note their presence. At Raglan’s farmhouse headquarters, midway between the harbour and Sebastopol itself, there were no ‘Eve of Inkerman’ premonitions.

 

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The Banner of Battle by Alan Palmer

Author:Alan Palmer , Date: June 11, 2019

,Views: 87

Author:Alan Palmer

Language: eng

Format: azw3

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Published: 2015-07-20T04:00:00+00:00
Chapter Twelve – A Victory and a Disaster

In later years Florence Nightingale used to head letters written on the anniversary of her arrival at Scutari, ‘November 4th (Eve of Inkerman)’. The parenthesis bore testimony to the importance she attached to the battle whose casualties so nearly overwhelmed her nurses in those terrible first weeks in Turkey. Yet in one sense the dateline was misleading. Most great battles in fluid campaigns —Agincourt, Lützen, Austerlitz, Borodino, to pick names at random — are preceded by days or nights of expectancy, with rival troops bracing themselves as their commanders find high ground from which to survey the terrain. Even in static trench warfare ominous signs suggest a coming attack: watchfires glow in the night sky; harnesses rattle, wagons creak; and it is enough to make forward troops stand-to for false alerts, as in the week before Balaclava.

Inkerman, however, was one of those rare engagements for which there was little preparation on either side. The main body of the Russian assault troops knew nothing of the ground, having only arrived on the previous day from Bessarabia; and if there were warning signals of increased activity in the enemy camp, no British staff officer was perceptive enough to recognize them. Letters from England, based upon titbits of information picked up by British diplomats in the German states, had suggested that the Russians wished to launch a full-scale attack to relieve the pressure on Sebastopol. But the besiegers were both confident and complacent. They took little interest in what the Russians were doing: Menshikov had probed the flank ofthe British position in the hills on 26 October, only to pull back badly mauled by the Guards. He was, it seemed, as cautious as ever. ‘We can see that large reinforcements are daily arriving to the Russian army,’ Raglan’s nephew noted, but he was sure that the enemy did not have ‘determination and courage enough to overcome British firmness and French gallantry’.[325] The allies went ahead with their plans for an assault on Sebastopol, having reached the stage where scaling ladders were stacked ready on the Balaclava quayside, where any spy might note their presence. At Raglan’s farmhouse headquarters, midway between the harbour and Sebastopol itself, there were no ‘Eve of Inkerman’ premonitions.

Throughout Saturday, 4 November, it was raining heavily in the hills behind Sebastopol, just as it was on the nurses disembarking off Constantinople. The clay soil in the valleys became a morass of mud and it was slow going for carts and wagons on the tracks up to the high ground. In the morning Lord Raglan rode the short distance to Canrobert’s headquarters for a council of war at which it was resolved that on the following Tuesday a final effort should be made to break into Sebastopol before the grip of winter tightened on the peninsula; the two commanders agreed that they would meet again on Sunday evening and settle details of the attack.[326]

Late on the Saturday afternoon Brigadier-General Pennefather — temporarily in charge

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